Species group: Gaited horses
Other common names: Foxtrotter
The Missouri Fox Trotter is an American gaited breed which is most well-known for its smooth and comfortable, diagonal 4-beat “fox trot”. The breed was developed in the 1800’s in the Ozark Mountains. Early settlers to the area realized they needed a horse which could cover long distances at a quick, surefooted gait. The also wanted a breed which could help with farm work like plowing, hauling logs and working cattle, and which at the same time had a gentle temperament and could pull buggies and carriages. The earliest known horse in the area to do the fox trot was a horse called “Old Fox”. Old Fox was locally famous in south-central Missouri and Northern Arkansas for working cattle and his remarkably smooth trot.
The fox trot is a trot in which the back foot comes up a little before the diagonal front foot. In the old time fox trot the hind foot was placed in the hoof print of the front foot on the same side which exited the location a moment before the hind foot comes down. This is termed "capping the tracks" and is the preferred gait if the rider is looking for a sure footed horse. In the more modern fox trot (based on Tennessee Walking horse influence), the back foot actually overreaches considerably. This is sometimes a slightly smoother gait but it forfeits some of the sure-footedness of the original fox trot.
Buyers who want the original fox trot need to look into foundation type horses while those that are planning to keep mostly to smoother areas should go for the newer style. The fox trot is the most surefooted of all gaits (even slightly more surefooted than the trot). This is because at least one foot on each side is always on the ground with periods in the gait when three feet are on the ground at the same time. The fox trot can be maintained for great stretches of time, and can reach speeds up to 12 mph.
In 1958 the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Breeders&
Appearance / health:
There is no true Missouri Fox Trotter physical "type". More emphasis is placed on the grace, balance and athleticism of each horse than on whether it conforms to a specific type.
However, MFTHBA standards state: "The horse should stand well on its feet, be erect, wide awake and alert. The neck should be graceful, in proportion to length of body, and joined to the body in a manner pleasing to the eye. The fox trotting horse should have a neat, clean, symmetrically shaped head of medium length; pointed ears that are well shaped; eyes that are large, wide set and bright; and a tapered muzzle with large nostrils. The back should be reasonably short and strong, the body deep and the ribs well-sprung. The flank should be sleek, and the chest deep and full. The shoulders should be sloped at a 45 to 50 degree angle, and moderately muscled. The legs should be muscular and tapered. The foot should be well made, strong and in proper proportion to the size of the horse. The overall condition of the horse should be reflected by its demeanor, body weight, muscular definition and tone, hair coat, and the feet. In form to function, good conformation permits the gaits to be performed in the proper manner"
As with all horse breeds, colic and laminitis are the leading causes of death in Missouri Fox Trotters.
Behavior / temperament:
The Missouri Fox Trotter has a willing and gentle disposition.
versatile family horses, smooth gait, beginners horse, running walk, smooth foxtrot, stamina
easy keepers, Low metabolism
wonderful trail horses, fourbeat gait, rough terrain, rough ground, calmest stallions
"I have had two Missouri Fox Trotters. Cochise is the name of the one I own currently. <br>I have had two opposite experiences with the Fox Trotters I have owned. The first one was fairly old, 20 years old to be exact. Her old age had not calmed her down very much. She had a rather high strung temperament. A great horse, but not one that you would want a beginner to start with. She would get an ornery temperament sometimes and step out of gate and be very rough to ride. She also spooked easily. She enjoyed running and had to be held in check a lot. Other than that she was mostly gentle with handling. <br>The Missouri Fox Trotter I own is a very different story. I've had a few horses in my life and she has by far been the best. Most of all she has an excellent temperament to start with, she has never showed any sign of being mean. I would feel fully comfortable with putting a beginner of any age in a corral with her. When I started handling her and working her around the pen when I bought her at the age of three, she had never been worked with before besides putting a halter on her. She adapted very well and was eager to learn what I wanted and expected from her. <br>When it comes to horses of any breed what must be looked at first is their temperament. Some breeds of horses are more high strung than others. For the most part Missouri Fox Trotters are very mild. I would highly recommend this breed of horse to anyone who is looking for a good pet or trail horse.."
From 72chevygirl Jul 15 2013 3:05PM
"I got Foxxy when I was 9 from the owner of the Riding academy my grandparents sent me to weekly. She'd only been trained in trail riding for experienced riders when I got her. She was a great horse, the only problem I found was the lack of language skills. She understood verbal commands, but not heel to flank commands. And she only understood the verbal commands in Yittish. She had a great temperament and honestly with the right training this horse would be ideal for even beginners (she was the first I'd ever ridden even though she was broken in for experienced riders) My advice, whatever breed the horse is, make sure they can be trained in your language it'll make things a lot easier.."
From Cuanam Nov 18 2015 10:42PM
"I cannot praise groundwork enough. Doing proper groundwork with good technique will save you massive amounts of time and frustration under saddle. Doing groundwork is like reading a textbook before class: sure, you might get through the class without doing the reading, but if you did your homework, everything will make more sense in the lecture and you will retain more. That's the concept for the horse. He will learn more quickly and retain information if you prep with groundwork. I start a lot of colts, and I will never mount one before I am confident that the horse has mastered the groundwork portion of my program.."
From Maddy 10 days ago